By Emma Battell Lowman and Adam J. Barker
Canada has never had an “Indian problem”— but it does have a Settler problem. But what does it mean to be Settler? And why does it matter?
Through an engaging, and sometimes enraging, look at the relationships between Canada and Indigenous nations, Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada explains what it means to be Settler and argues that accepting this identity is an important first step towards changing those relationships. Being Settler means understanding that Canada is deeply entangled in the violence of colonialism, and that this colonialism and pervasive violence continue to define contemporary political, economic and cultural life in Canada. It also means accepting our responsibility to struggle for change. Settler offers important ways forward — ways to decolonize relationships between Settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples — so that we can find new ways of being on the land, together.
This book presents a serious challenge. It offers no easy road, and lets no one off the hook. It will unsettle, but only to help Settler people find a pathway for transformative change, one that prepares us to imagine and move towards just and beneficial relationships with Indigenous nations. And this way forward may mean leaving much of what we know as Canada behind.
“Both callous and empathetic approaches to indigenous dysfunction have always focused on the Indian ‘problem.’ And yet, settler colonialism as a mode of domination is fundamentally constituted by the unequal relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous collectives. This book finally focuses on the real ‘problem.’ It was hidden in plain sight all along: the settler.”
— — Lorenzo Veracini, associate professor of history and politics, Swinburne University of Technology, author of Settler Colonialism